- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 20, 2001

What a difference a war makes.

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and a consistent thorn in President Bush's side this year, has named Mr. Bush "Man of the Year" in an article to appear in the conservative Human Events magazine.

"In 2001, President Bush was summoned to serve as freedom's commander-in-chief," Mr. McCain wrote. "He rallied our nation and much of the world, in this righteous cause to defend our values, our liberty and our very lives."

A McCain spokeswoman confirmed that the senator wrote the article, which appears in next week's issue.

Mr. McCain was Mr. Bush's chief rival in the Republican presidential primary. He has opposed Mr. Bush this year on several high-profile issues.

The senator also was mildly critical of the administration's conduct early in the war in Afghanistan, saying the United States was not using all necessary force to win the campaign.

But Mr. McCain writes in the article that Mr. Bush has risen to the challenge since September 11 to combat international terrorism.

"President Bush understood that this is not just a battle to destroy the al Qaeda terrorist network and their Taliban henchmen," Mr. McCain said. "It is a war against all terrorists and the states that harbor them, whether they reside in Damascus, Tehran, Baghdad, or the West Bank. He has led the world in a heroic campaign to vanquish freedom's foe and issued a warning to all nations that neutrality in this war is not an option."

He added, "To see this mission through, President Bush has wisely counseled Americans to be patient as our soldiers, sailors, and airmen bravely fight on foreign soil against these hostile forces. He has helped us realize that this war will be long and hard; it will be waged on tough terrain and in the shadows."

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